Revealing too much on social media

Social media is baked into our lives now. People willingly share their lives, thoughts, opinions, activities and other personal data on their favorite social media sites.

When it comes to owning and managing a business, you must remember to share carefully what you post on social media. In a recent Wall Street Journal article, they advise the CEOs on the do’s and don’ts of using social media to make company-based announcements.

They remind us all that the Securities and Exchange Commission recently published new guidelines for companies making disclosures. Disclosing to investors via tweets or posts can be good thing, as that seems to the preferred way investors want to get company communications, but with 140-character limits for tweets, such pronouncements have a “different feel” to traditional disclosures, but still have the same disclosure obligation to investors.

Another area of concern that companies must be aware of is the retweeting or liking of comments made by third parties. If there is favorable coverage of the company by an analyst or a positive newspaper article, a company normally would issue a press release or file an 8-k with the SEC to highlight the good things said about it.

While social media lends itself to a CEO liking good news on someone else’s Facebook page or posting a link to that article on Facebook or retweeting it to their followers…officers and directors of companies need to be aware what they are retweeting when retweeting someone else’s words or article may be equated to them as having adopted those words. If the CEO is passing along information they ought to make sure it is factually accurate and not misleading.

This article goes to not only our reputation, but also the quality of our speech. When we repeat what another person has said or written, unless we explicitly give our thoughts about it, we are tacitly endorsing their speech. Our speech is one of the most powerful tools we have at our disposal to do either good or bad. We can build others up or tear them down. And we can pass along mis-information as well as sound speech that is like apples of gold in settings of silver.

Be careful how you manage yourself in social media. Saying less is often better than saying more. Christian Business ownership has it’s limitations.

Related artcles: here and here.

Bill English, CEO